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When Markicia Horton graduates this spring from the Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law in Houston and takes the bar, she’ll be stepping into a world where a Black woman is set to be on the U.S. Supreme Court for the first time in its 232-year history.

With Stephen Breyer’s retirement from the court and President Joe Biden’s commitment to name a Black woman as his nominee, it is likely that, as the 25-year-old Horton moves into a profession, there will be a Black woman as a Supreme Court justice. What that means for her and thousands of other young women of color in law schools or serving as lawyers around the country is incalculable.

But it also comes with concerns. According to the National Association for Law Placement, Black women made up 3.17% of associates at America’s law firms in 2021 but less than 1% of partners. Women of color overall made up nearly 16% of associates at America’s law firms but only about 4% of the partners.

And across the federal bench, Black women hold 45 of the 850 lifetime appointments to district and appeals judgeships — or about 5%, according to government data.

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